Welcome to the blog tour for Altered Helix, by Stephanie Hansen. This book is the first installment in a YA/ Paranormal Mystery series, and the lastest release is called Paralleled Bond!
Read on for more info!
Publication Date: May 19th, 2020
Genre: YA/ Paranormal Mystery/ Novella
Publisher: Hypothesis Books
I didn’t want to take the traditional path. First, I wasn’t ready for college. Second, I was going to live with my best friend, Tiff, and work at the Haunted House. Third, did I mention the hot guy Josh that works there too?
The most exciting thing about Austria’s new job, at a local haunted house, was the fact that the toughest looking people screamed the loudest. But when she meets the boy without a home, Josh, Austria’s life takes intriguing and eventful turns. Up until now, Josh has managed to hang with his Street crowd, but they’re in danger, and so is Austria, the girl Josh recently fell for. The group finds themselves joining forces with previously considered enemies who also now find themselves in danger.
Deeply compassionate and full of twists, Altered Helix captures the struggle of polarized people that must work together for the greater good.
Stephanie Hansen’s short story, Break Time, and poetry has been featured in Mind’s Eye literary magazine. The Kansas Writers Association published her short story, Existing Forces, appointing her as a noted author. She has held a deep passion for writing since early childhood, but a brush with death caused her to allow it to grow. She’s part of an SCBWI critique group in Lawrence, KS and two local book clubs. She attends many writers’ conferences including the Writing Day Workshops, New York Pitch, Penned Con, New Letters, All Write Now, Show Me Writers Master Class, BEA, and Nebraska Writers Guild conference as well as Book Fairs and Comic-Cons. She is a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community.
I did another author interview and this time, it was with David Reiss! He is the author of the Chronicles of Fid trilogy! I had a fun time picking his brain about writing and talking about comic books and villains! Check out the video below:
Welcome to my stop on the Rainbow blog tour. Read on for book details, an excerpt AND a chance to win a signed copy of the book!
Publication Date: December 2019
Genre: LGBTQ/ Black Fiction/ Novella
Taylor has room for exactly two things in her life: improving her performance as a college basketball player and maintaining the grades she needs to stay on the team and someday play in the WNBA. But when she meets the beautiful and confident Melony, Taylor’s whole way of life is called into question. RAINBOW is a coming-of-age queer love story with a Love Jones kind of vibe. It’s the first of many queer black novellas by the author Verde Arzu.
Verde Arzu is a passionate, middle school special education teacher. She graduated from Fisk University, a historically black college and university (HBCU) located in Nashville, TN. There she earned a B.A in History.
Her love for teaching pushed her to go on to graduate school where she earned a Master of Science in Special Education from National University. Verde is not only a teacher but an advocate working to ensure equity for students of color, especially those with learning disabilities.
Verde is excitedly working toward completing a post-baccalaureate certificate in writing from UC Berkeley Extension. Upon completion of the program, she plans to continue to publish novellas, short love stories, centered on realistic lesbian and queer relationships.
Verde recalls writing her first piece of fiction as a kid on the front stoop of her two-flat home on the south side of Chicago. She traces her passion for writing stories about African American queer characters from her desire to see more characters’ voices she can relate to.
A native Chicagoan, she currently resides in Northern California with her beautiful wife and two furry, four-legged children, Bob and Marley. She enjoys reading books written by African Americans—with her favorite genre being romance. She is a die heart Chicago sports fan. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, basketball, biking, binge-watching her favorite TV shows, and of course, cuddling up with a good book!
I was blessed by the lovely creators of Bookishly and received another Bookishly Book Box to do an unboxing video on my channel and show you what I received! Let me know if any of you have tried this box before and what you thought! Check out the video below:
Chris has been pumping out the reviews and reading these books at the speed of light! This time, he read 3 Hour Dad by Adam T. Hourlution.
Synopsis: One day Adam, just your average, typical guy receives a call from his mother-in-law (to be !) summoning him to the hospital following his girlfriend being rushed in with suspected appendicitis only to discover that she is in fact having contractions and has been admitted to the labour ward.
This heart-warming and true story invites readers to step into Adam’s shoes and experience what it is like to be a 3 Hour Dad.
A portion of sales are donated to a random act of kindness project. For more information please read the about me section at the end of the book.
A charming little novella, providing you’re not going through these events yourself. Endearing. Personal. Touching.
Most parents have a few months to plan for a newborn, but not Adam and Lyndsay. Neither of them knew she was pregnant. They went from being blissfully unaware of pending parenthood to being parents in three hours. Most parents have time to prepare for a new arrival. Three hours in a state of mild panic in a hospital is not adequate preparatory time, to dramatically understate it. I don’t blame him for writing his story. I’d want to try and make sense of it too, and writing is therapeutic.
The novella makes a nice break from our current pandemic and social distancing situation although it did intrude at one point when Adam talks about being in the hospital getting hugs and handshakes from everyone; my first reaction was one of mild horror as people ignore social distancing especially in a hospital. Adam’s writing, though, describes events from 2015. It made me wonder if the days of casual handshakes are over till this generation ends and a new one that never knew the pandemic takes over.
Another nice thing about the novella, aside from its personal tone, is that a portion of the sale of his book goes to a “random act of kindness fund that is used to surprise others”—and that’s not “hey, you’re going to be a parent” type of surprise. It is because they were touched by the kindness of others who provided last minute gifts and items for their new baby girl, and now they want to give something back. He was, or is, working on a website that would highlight these acts of kindness for others.
I was curious to see what has happened since he published in 2018 about his 2015 journey from “lad to dad”. I checked the social media links in his book. Adam’s Instagram account has not been updated since 2018, his blog link no longer works, and his Facebook account’s last post that I can see is from May 30, 2018.
I was getting a bit concerned for their well-being—Adam’s story made me feel a bit of a connection to him—but with a bit more searching I did locate him and Lyndsay together with their daughter in a nice family photo. They recently tied the knot and are soon coming up on their one-year anniversary.
Happy soon-to-be anniversary, you two. I hope you’re all doing well in these troubled times. I wish you much safety and health. Thank you for sharing a bit of your life in this novella.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in ebook format to read and give an honest review.
Check out Lisa King’s brand new novel called The Vanishing Hour which is available now on Amazon! She is a Canadian author from London, Ontario and I am super excited to share the love on her new book! If you like post-apocalyptic books, then this one is for you!
Hey Action/ Adventure fans! This week we’re celebrating the release of Steven Jacob’s exciting novella, Kickback! Here’s a sneak peek and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!
Kickback (Chris Hunter #1)
Publication Date: January 27th, 2020
Genre: Adventure/ Novella
When Chris Hunter is called to search for a missing executive in Vietnam, he uncovers a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the organization.
Chris Hunter is an off-the-books fixer for Greater Dragon Asia, an international investment fund. He speaks four languages and is skilled in weapons use and hand-to-hand combat. He served in the U.S. Army for nearly a decade and understands how to operate under the radar. Now he uses his skills to take care of the jobs that no one wants but that need doing in an organization with billions of dollars under management.
Kickback is the first Chris Hunter adventure.
The apartment was shrouded in darkness, he could see vague shapes, outlines that could be anything from a sofa to a table to a refrigerator and all the other sundry that populate an urban apartment. There was something else, too, that struck him immediately. There was a sickly-sweet smell, as of something rotting, like someone left a slab of steak on the counter for a week.
Chris felt along the wall until he found a switch and flipped on the lights. He closed his eyes against the sudden onslaught of light and only opened them a few seconds later, slowly blinking to adjust to the illumination. What he saw when he opened them fully knocked him back a step.
There was a dead body sitting in a chair in the middle of the kitchen.
Steven Jacob is an international attorney who has lived and worked in Southeast Asia for over ten years. He speaks Vietnamese and is familiar with the history, norms, and cultures of the region. He grew up in the United States and lived in several places in the West. He went to school in Utah and California. He has been writing since the second grade when he discovered epic fantasy and science fiction, though he doesn’t write in those genres now. He has published several books independently.
As many of you know, I am currently running a book tour right now for the book The Last Seed by Moud Adel. Well, it is finally my day on the tour and time for me to tell you about this awesome new novella.
Synopsis:Orantine is the best spy in her faction, the one they go to for impossible missions. But her next target is like nothing she has faced before, a high ranking official in a faction whose members can see the future.
Orantine has never failed before, but this time, she isn’t sure success is possible.
Armed with her faction’s genetic mutation, and the latest technology the world has to offer. Orantine believes she has found the perfect plan.
Nothing comes without a price, however, and this mission will push her to the edge, and further.
How far will she go to ensure success? And how far is she willing to go to prove she is the greatest in her world?
Now, I know this was a novella so I expected it to go by fast to begin with but I blew through this book. I finished it in two sittings and that is only because I started it on a weekend that I was going to a wedding so I had to stop reading to well… go to a wedding.
I was captured immediately by the concept of a faction that could predict the future but only through different variations of their own decisions. And the faction that had the seeds implanted in their heads to control memories among other things was a really cool addition to this plot.
I enjoyed the exploration into the other factions of Mastoperia because in the other novella, War Remnants, you only get to hear about the other 2 factions. The factions in this book were more up my alley than the last one and had me wanting to learn all about them.
The relationships felt very real and I was invested in our main character. I remember that at one part, I didn’t know what to feel due to something that really threw me for a loop. I love it when books can get me feeling like this.
The only thing I didn’t really like, and this is a tiny thing, was that the narration makes it so that you are already aware of what is happening some of the time. I wish it left a little bit to more to be discovered but I still really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to dive into the series!
It was a great intro sci-fi/fantasy book that has set everything up for a great series.
Who doesn’t love a good Boogeyman story? Well, I have a creepy little novella to share that will make you want to check your closet before bed!
Read on for more details about Reaper by Jonathan Pongratz, and a chance to win a signed copy of your own!
Reaper: A Horror Novella
Publication Date: April 19th, 2019
Genre: YA Horror/ Novella
THE BOOGEYMAN IS REAL
Gregory and his little sister Imogen love spending Halloween with their parents. But this year is different. If he proves he can take care of Imogen all by himself, he’ll finally have the allowance he’s dreamed of.
That was before the basement door opened on its own. Before the strange door appeared in the basement and Imogen was taken from him by the monster.
Now everyone in town is blaming him for her disappearance, but no one is listening to his story. Where did the door come from? What was that creature? And most of all, can he find his sister before it’s too late, or will he bury his memories of her along with his parents?
Call me a scaredy cat all you want, but there was always something about the basement that I didn’t like. It always made me feel like I was being watched, like there was some
thing in the shadows just waiting for me to make a wrong move. Even now, the frigid air crept over me, creating more goosebumps on my arms and legs. I quickened my strides up the stairs, Imogen dragging behind.
We were halfway up the stairs when the knocks stopped. For a moment, I stopped my climb. The house was eerily quiet, and for reasons I can’t explain I felt a sudden urge to hurry back upstairs. I charged forward, trying to pull Immy along with me, but she resisted.
“Too fast!” she whined.
“If you hurry, we can play dress up sooner, now come on!” I yanked on Immy’s arm, practically lifting her into the air. Seven steps. Just seven more steps and we could look back on this night and laugh it oﬀ. Seven, six, ﬁve. Almost there.
I was just three steps away from the door when I leaped for the landing. I’ll never forget that jump. Time seemed to stand still, as if those cold icy ﬁngers in the air had somehow found a way to slow time down. I remember that I had a smile on my face, a smile that disappeared when the door slammed shut in my face.
Jonathan Pongratz is a writer and author of captivating horror, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories. When he’s not writing, he’s busy being a bookworm, video game junkie, and karaoke vocalist. A former resident of Dallas, he currently resides in Kansas City with his halloween cat Ajax. By day he works magic in finance, by night he creates dark and mesmerizing worlds.
Rapid Fire Book Tag you say? I tried to answer these questions on the fly! Thanks to Dominic from Reading Fandom for tagging me to do this.
Also for all you fantasy lovers out there, my friend Moud Adel (author of the War Remnants which I reviewed in July) has created this new game called Majority Rules where you get to decide what happens in his fantasy story. You will read the story and then vote in a poll for what you want the next scene to be. YOU take control and YOU make the decisions. Every Thursday, there will be new scene options so it is a continuous game! Check it out by clicking on the image below!
A return to hard-hitting, gritty sword and sorcery with an iconic and inspiring main character, the Rayden Valkyrie Tales are a growing collection of stand-alone novellas that will elate fans of the genre!
The Prowling the Darkness Blog Tour features reviews, interviews, guest posts, video, and top ten lists! As a novella, Prowling the Darkness is a shorter and quicker read for reviewers too!
About the author: Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk), and the forthcoming Faraway Saga (YA Dystopian/Cross-Genre).
Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.
Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.
Book Synopsis for Prowling the Darkness: Dark rumors and whisperings of unholy sorcery bring Rayden Valkyrie to the remote city of Sereth-Naga.
There she finds a populace cowering in fear of the city’s ruthless, mysterious rulers, who remain behind the high walls of their citadel.
An even greater mystery surrounds the city.
Something is prowling the darkness.
Something that has kept the enigmatic rulers for centuries from escaping Sereth-Naga to spread their wickedness to other lands.
Prowling the Darkness is a stand-alone novella that is part of the Rayden Valkyrie Tales.
The world of Rayden Valkyrie is an exciting and diverse one, filled with a wide array of lands, cultures, creatures, and characters. More and more of this world is being revealed through the two collections of novellas featuring the Rayden Valkyrie and Ragnar Stormbringer characters.
It is a world that is distinct and different from the world of Ave portrayed in my epic fantasy Fires in Eden Series. I strive to have a more ancient world feel in Rayden’s tales, while also hinting of an even more ancient age, remnants of which make their appearances in the various adventures and tales.
My approach to world building focuses upon creating realistic and well-rounded cultures, some of them historically-inspired, and others original in nature. Each culture has a full history of its own, heroes and leaders, a religion, means of trade (whether barter, or coin-based), a geography that it inhabits (and that geography, hosting certain types of plants, wildlife, terrain, weather patterns, and natural resources, will have a significant influence on the kind of culture that develops within it), and an interrelation with other lands or elements of that world (which can be antagonistic or benevolent in nature).
I think that good world building embraces a comprehensive approach to each culture. The reader may not get to experience all aspects of a land or culture in a given tale, but the author needs to have the foundation in mind so that the dynamics of the culture, behavior of the characters from it, and other elements flow naturally through the course of the narrative and action. I recommend avoiding the urge to “info-dump”, though a little extra info may be useful in certain situations, when soaking in something major in the story like a large new city.
Having a solid understanding of the world and its various lands and cultures provides great fodder for storytelling. The conflicts between cultures/realms can be reflected in the interactions between characters, create dynamic encounters, and much more.
A good understanding of the world in the author’s mind can also be the source of inspiration for new stories. This is precisely how the novella Prowling the Darkness came about. It is a stand-alone tale, but it takes place right after the events in the novella Blood of a Queen. It features a remote city-state called Sereth-Naga ruled over by an enigmatic group of beings called the Sharir-Mord.
The people of Sereth-Naga are inspired by the people of ancient city-states and areas of Persia, while the Sharir-Mord’s inspiration is entirely original in nature.
The culture of the people in the city of Sereth-Naga has been strongly affected by the Sharir-Mord, to the degree that the people are almost like cattle to the Sharir-Mord “Farmer”. The presence of an even more ancient world is reflected in the entities lurking in the darkness in the land around Sereth-Naga, who become a very pivotal part of the story. Like the Sharir-Mord, these entities are derived from an original inspiration.
Rayden Valkyrie goes alone into this world, among the people, the Sharir-Mord, and the legendary entities prowling the landscape around the city. While I do not get to reveal everything about the culture of the people, the things in the darkness, or the Sharir-Mord, their cultures inform everything regarding the actions and decisions of the characters that Rayden meets and encounters.
I am confident that by the end of the story, the reader has a great feel for this part of Rayden’s world, and that Sereth-Naga has an organic and realistic atmosphere about it. Ultimately, I find that I am in a very good position for future tales that involving one of the groups encountered during Prowling the Darkness. All of that is made possible by comprehensive world building.
I invite you to read Prowling the Darkness for yourself and begin your exploration of Rayden’s dynamic and diverse world!
Hey bookworms! Recently, I was approached by a bookstagrammer friend of mine to read and review the novella that they wrote. At first, I was a little hesitant because I have interacted with them a bunch on Instagram and was worried that if I didn’t like the book then it would be awkward. The book is called War Remnants by Moud Adel.
Synopsis:When the price of Gate Magic is a shorter life spent with your loved ones, will you want to keep that door closed?
Prepared to give up all of his power for a few more years with his family, Rakamai, the leader of his faction, a Magic Master who swore to defend his people against those who possess special powers, believed the only way out was to offer peace. But in a world where factions love to be enemies, his dream would soon be shattered.
Yamen, a Forest Elder, reminds Rakamai that controlling Majestic animals is a power he should always fear, and trapped in another war, Rakamai has a decision to make. Protect the legacy of his people or save his son from the hatred plaguing his world.
Now, when the Forbidden Warriors, the strongest in his world, are hunting him down, Rakamai must first escape their wrath before choosing between a longer life for himself or peace for the next generation.
I can happily say that I enjoyed the book. I was really interested in the magic system and wanted to know more about the different factions and their powers/abilities. I believe that they could have been explored more and kind of wish that this was an actual full-length book and not a novella so that we could get that history and build more on this world.
The battle scenes were very descriptive and showed the range of powers that each adversary had. I enjoyed that they mixed modern weapons into the magic.
I did get a little bit lost with the names. A lot of them were very similar so at times I was getting confused as to whom I was reading about. And a lot of them started with the same letter so that didn’t make it any easier to differentiate them.
It is a great setup for a full on series and I would love to read the series and learn more about these characters.
Hey Bookworms!! Guess what?!
The book reviews will be a little less often now as I accepted a part-time teaching position at Canadore College in North Bay. I am very excited to be teaching and will try and keep up with the book reviews to the best of my ability (I feel like I might be spending my free time lesson planning). For today, this book was called The Meandering Muse by Katherine Mayfield. It is a collection of short stories, essays, poetry, and musings of the author.
Synopsis:Step inside the mind of a writer obsessed with the workings of the Universe and crazed with the spirit of creativity.
This collection of delightful and thought-provoking essays, poems, CNF, and short fiction by award-winning author Katherine Mayfield will make readers laugh as they ponder the infinitely enigmatic workings of the Universe.
Ranging wildly from subjects such as multitasking, schizophrenia, shopaholism, money, and the government to the woes of a homeowner forced to use bananas and daffodils to humanely remove wasps from her living room, these unique and inventive Dave Barry-esque mini-symphonies of words will widen readers’ perspectives on life, nature, and human beings.
This book was very enjoyable. The author writes with such ease of mind, it’s wonderful. She talks about her overbearing mother and how that affected her as she grew up. She talks about Mother Nature and how we mistreat her and I applaud her for it. It’s nice to see an author emphasize her honesty and have it reflect in her “musings”.
The book is a very quick read at exactly 100 pages. You will find yourself laughing throughout and will overall feel relaxed reading this one. I would say this book is like having a conversation with your fun aunt who gives it to you how it is. She won’t ever pressure you to do anything and just wants you to be happy as you are 🙂
Book Rating: 4/5
You can find this book and add it to your shelf on Goodreads.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to us in physical format to read and give an honest review.
Well to start off this review, I am pretty pumped to say that I have surpassed 300 followers on Twitter and have achieved 150 WordPress followers! Thank you so much to everyone that takes the time to read my reviews 🙂 I have loved having book discussions with everyone and will continue to do so. Bringing attention to new author’s books is a passion of mine and I am glad people are interested in hearing what I have to say. I give honest opinions about the books I read and I will stay true to that.
So let us jump into this review, shall we! Vignettes by Lola Andrews is a collection of LGBTQ erotic novellas.
Synopsis: Kamila is fighting loneliness, and her affair with a married woman hardly seems like the solution, Lana and Emma don’t know what they want, other than each other, while Eric, Sam, and Tove are just enjoying each other and their shared life. Meanwhile, Mia is just very horny and missing her wife, Clara and Julia are trapped together in a road trip, Linda is blocked and Jaron and Noah are barely holding on to their sanity.
Meet them and many more in this collection of short stories, which hopes to show the beauty of love had, love lost and love kept. Join these everyday heroes, who take chances in the simplest ways, and who, above all, want nothing but love. These stories of LGBTQ persuasion hope to inspire, warm up and enliven your day.
This was my first time reading erotica and I can honestly say that I am not really a fan. Nothing against the author, I just don’t think this genre is for me. However, it has only been my first experience with it so I am open to trying out others to compare.
The book was OK. There were some short stories that I enjoyed but I found that they lacked in a storyline. I think by focusing more on a storyline and building up to the ultimate climax of the actual sex, it could make these stories more entertaining to read. This may be why Fifty Shades is a big success (never read the book or saw the movie so this could be a shady comparison due to lack of knowledge). For me, I like to learn and grow with the characters, to see their stories blossom into something exciting, intense or dramatic but in these short stories, I felt that most of the characters were thrown together just to fulfill the sexual desire and then nothing else.
There was one I rather enjoyed about two women who were past lovers and then thrown back into each other’s lives due to an investigation on some murders. It had a big Supernatural vibe because they were dealing with werewolves and it was like Sam and Dean hunting down another monster (except in this case they weren’t related and were past lovers). So this one I did enjoy.
But then there was one that got a little incestual about a father and son romance and I couldn’t handle this. This was just too much for me. I could tell what was coming and was cringing when trying to read through it.
My rating reflects my honest opinion. I can see this author doing really well in this genre but my criticism would be to add a little more storyline and build a little more on the characters. Once someone falls into the story and likes/dislikes the characters, then the erotic parts will be that much more meaningful and intense. They will bring a reader to their true climax.
Book Rating: 2.5/5
About the Author: Lola Andrews began writing the moment she developed an imagination. Though her skill has changed with time (for the better!), she has always been hungry for new and better stories, and now hopes to add to the LGBTQ community with her humble offerings. When not writing, Lola can be found pole dancing, drinking wine and watching movies.